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Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Inner Mounting Flame CD (album) cover


Mahavishnu Orchestra


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.28 | 1006 ratings

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5 stars I've stated this before, although I'm pretty sure that it wasn't on this website, that when I first got into progressive rock, the only reason I kept with it was because of a certain few albums that I found interesting enough to want to stick with it. This is one of those albums. It was the first fusion record I ever heard and I was totally blown away by it. The sheer ferocity, technicality, and overall musicianship blew me away within moments of starting it for the first time and they still do every time I listen to it.

1. Meeting of the Spirits - Starts with a few drum rolls by the genius of Billy Cobham and McLaughlin shredding a bit before an almost psychedelic intro draws us into the song. At 1:30 McLaughlin comes in with a lengthy solo, something that is quite common in Mahavishnu's work. Drums and guitar are excellent on this song. Around 3:40 the intense shred-fest quiets and slows down. Great piano playing in this section as well. However it builds up a bit again before the end. Absolutely amazing intro. 10/10

2. Dawn - Soft, slow piano intro with drums providing backing. Violin comes in around 0:45. This is an absolutely stunning and beautiful intro, and easily one. This song has great violin...shredding? Not really sure how to put it, other than the fact that it absolutely blows me away. 10/10

3. Noonward Race - Easily my favorite Mahavishnu track and even jazz fusion song. This is probably in a list of my top songs of all time; it's that good. At times it seems to go back and forth between being 70s hard rock, blues, and jazz. Words can't do this song justice. It must be heard to be believed. Again, absolutely mind-blowing song in every aspect, and no weaknesses whatsoever. 10+/10

4. A Lotus on Irish Streams - Some absolutely beautiful violin starts this song off. It almost brings me to tears when I hear it, as well as the point around 1:50. Songs generally don't make me feel overly emotional, but this one always strikes a chord with me for some reason (pun intended). Great interplay between acoustic guitar and violin throughout the song. Piano comes and goes throughout the song at appropriate times. Absolutely stunning, and one of my favorite tracks on the album. 10+/10

5. Vital Transformation - Kicks off again with a very hard rock feel to it like Noonward. Killer drums, guitar, and bass are a key of this song. And like Noonward, this is a song that I can't describe in words alone. Another must-hear song. 10+/10

6. The Dance of Maya - Starts with a creepy intro that would make Alfred Hitchcock proud before drums come in and...make it slightly less creepy. This song is also filled with very distorted sounds to help add to this creepy feeling. However, McLaughlin's guitar dispels that feeling at about 4 minutes in, and we are treated to more powerful and emotional shredding and soloing, however he does slow it down at times and gives a feeling of great balance and control without losing the raw power he displays so well. 10/10

7. You Know, You Know - This song begins with a very bluesy feel to it and starts off slow before building up. At least that's what one would think. But to me it feels like something is missing on this song. I'm not sure if the band was deliberately trying to hold back or what, but some of the emotion is lacking from previous tracks. There is however a good deal of nice noodling with the keys, which in the end might be what the song was intended for, I don't know (pun intended again). Some violin even comes in at one point and gives us the false hope again that the song will continue building, along with some weird noises, but again I feel that this song never gets that far from where it starts and could have expanded more. My least favorite and probably the only "weak" song on the album, but some of the drumming from Cobham saves it for me. 8.5/10

8. Awakening - The intro for the last song starts with everybody seemingly coming in at once and trying to solo at the same time. Very, very intense here, and a great return from the last song. This is much more in the vein of what else has been going on in this album. Great guitar soloing and great drums from Cobham as well. Heck, all the instruments feel on here, almost as if everyone is trying to get what thoughts and ideas are still in their head out on to the last track of the album. Fantastic, fantastic finisher. 10+/10

Closing thoughts: An absolute must-have record not just for a fan of prog rock or jazz, but anyone who is a fan of music. This album is one of my 25 favorite albums of all time for a reason. The intensity and emotion really comes out very well here and in the follow up album, "Birds of Fire". Although both are absolutely essential albums, I rank this one slightly over Bird of Fire. An absolutely essential album and I really wish the rest of Mahavishnu Orchestra's discography had turned out as good as this. This isn't music; this is art in its purest form. If you don't have it, get it immediately. 6+/5 stars.

horsewithteeth11 | 5/5 |


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